Food scraps to fertiliser
Many of us grow our own food and gardens— or even just houseplants— and we sometimes need to think about what we need to feed our plant friends, too.
Instead of getting fancy expensive organic fertilisers….
….did you know that the following common kitchen scraps and leftovers make excellent, safe, and easy-to-use natural fertilisers for your plants?
Here are some favourites:
- Coffee grounds.
It’s possible you’ve already heard of this classic kitchen scrap or compost ingredient being great for gardens and potted plants— it’s a popular one (especially because we consume so much of it!)
You can “amend” or work some coffee grounds into the soil near your plants, in your garden, or in pot planters.
Coffee grounds may have numerous benefits: including leaving some micronutrients for plants (like magnesium), adding slow-release nitrogen, encouraging more soil life, and it can even keep away certain pests such as slugs or snails (thanks to the caffeine).
That said, make sure not to add too much to plants that prefer alkaline soils—it does acidify the soil a little bit.
If you consume eggs or raise your own chickens for egg products, keep the shells!
They can be a boon for your garden and plants. They’re very high in calcium, a valuable mineral for plants, especially during the phases of flower, fruit, and seed production.
Like coffee grounds, these can be worked into the soil around your plant roots, too (without disturbing the roots of course). Just make sure you break down eggshells into manageable pieces, not huge chunks— throwing them into a grinder beforehand can help.
If you’re an avid tea drinker— and you find yourself unable to finish your tea because it’s too cold— save it for your plants! If it’s properly cooled, use it as you would to water flowers, vegetables, and more.
Herbal teas of many kinds can contain activating microbes and phytochemicals that plants love, too.
Many also bring a hotpot of minerals plants could benefit from and can activate soil life to help unlock even more nutrient availability in the soil.
- Old pickle brine.
Make sure to dilute this one with a little bit of water— but otherwise, it’s great, and it works!
Any sort of pickled food— kimchi, sauerkraut, classic dill pickles— you can take the unused brine and use that to water your plants. Besides containing some very small trace amounts of minerals for your plants, the BIG thing this does is activate soil microbes. These bacteria and fungi then work hard to make nutrients to be even more available to your plants in turn.
- Rinse water from food containers and cooking.
This is a clever one— do you ever have leftover water from making rice, beans, or potatoes? If you eat dairy, do you ever rinse out yogurt, milk, or cream containers in the sink?
You can use the residue from these foods in the rinse water as enriching fertile water for your plants. From plant grains, this can give a boost of nitrogen; from dairy foods, a boost in calcium!
Information from The Need to Grow/earthconsciouslife.org